While dozens of countries, day by day, adopt policies that favor renewable energies, an Argentine Patagonian city seems to want to go in the opposite direction. It is about Puerto Madryn, in Chubut. The Deliberative Council of that town approved the creation of a series of rates for wind energy companies, which could represent up to 4.5% of the companies’ billing.
In the summer, when the same councilors had already germinated the idea, it was baptized “tax on the wind.” The funny thing is that Madryn is a recipient of investments for these developments. And these kinds of tributes do not seem to encourage future disbursements.
Wind energy companies are waiting for the law to go through the next instances. And, after that, they will go to court, because they do not want to pay those fees. His lawyers say the new taxation is “unconstitutional.”
“The proposed law has a lot of legal defects, and I believe that any judge will cancel it,” says an important businessman in the sector, who prefers not to give his name. “In any case, we know that the governor (Mariano Arcioni) is against it, he is interested in continuing to promote the industry,” says another executive from the same sector.
The tax is a “great setback”, according to Juan Bosch, president of SAESA. “Even if a legal reversal is achieved, it will greatly affect the confidence of anyone who has to come to invest in energy. This is where we should not go,” he defines.
The mayor of Puerto Madryn, Gustavo Sastre, had already approved an ordinance in April with the application of municipal taxes to wind energy production in that town. At that time it was a fee for “authorization, inspection, safety and hygiene and environmental control” per square meter.
The Deliberative Council and the mayor advanced in the area of its application. They extended the urban ejido of Puerto Madryn, that is, the surface on which this project is reached, as La Nación announced last Friday.
The other modification is that the rates will no longer be applied on the square meters of each park, but on the production thereof. Since wind generators obtain energy through the wind, the set of new taxes was dubbed “air tax.”
“If a company paid $ 800,000 annually in municipal taxes, now they will pay about $ 10 million, they pointed out from the Puerto Madryn mayor,” according to El Chubut of that province. In other words, the tax burden grows more than 10 times.
“It is an illegality, with ignorance of constitutional rights. In addition, they are even affecting local suppliers in the area, “says a lawyer working on the measure to resist the tax.
Aluar and Genneia are some of the companies with investments in that town. Restrictions on the exchange rate have already stopped disbursements in the sector in general, as investors do not like to depend on exchange regulations.
The companies in the sector sent letters to the Deliberative Council of Madryn, but the councilors went ahead with their plans.
Chubut also receives investments for renewables in other locations, such as Comodoro Rivadavia and Trelew. “It seems that Puerto Madryn does not like that there is wind activity, so we will all begin to look to other locations, where they do not put new taxes on us as often,” shoots the head of a company that spoke under the condition of not giving its name